The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
A Florida man who fired more than 50 rounds at police officers and now is charged with 10 counts of attempted murder had neo-Nazi literature and a stockpile of firearms and ammunition in his home, authorities say.
No officers were injured during last weekend’s SWAT encounter that began when they went to a home near Williston, Fla., looking for Dustin Harold Heathman, who had been sought on multiple arrest warrants.
As SWAT officers approached the home on Sunday, a woman inside took off running and Heathman opened fire, hitting a SWAT vehicle several times, WESH-TV in Orlando reported.
Heathman then turned his automatic weapon toward other SWAT officers who were approaching the home, according to the news report.
During an exchange of gunfire, Heathman was hit with glass fragments, but his injuries weren’t life-threatening, authorities said. After making antigovenment statements and suggesting he wanted to die, he was booked into the Marion County Jail.
Investigators have not released the list of items seized during a search of the home, but confirmed to Hatewatch today that neo-Nazi and white supremacist items were found, along with a cache of weapons and ammunition.
“We don’t know at this point exactly what his affiliations were,” Capt. James Pogue, the department’s public information chief, said today when reached for comment.
After his arrest, Marion County sheriff’s officials said Heathman reportedly made suicidal comments and he expressed antigovernment views similar to those of a sovereign citizen.
“His statement was that he was anti-government,” Marion County Major Tommy Bibb told WJCB-TV in Ocala.
“He did not want to let anyone come and arrest him,” Bibb told the television station. “His initial [plan] was to shoot as many officers as he could and then die by suicide by cop.”
Public records show Heathman has convictions in Palm Beach, Fla., for robbery, burglary, possessing a destructive device, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, attempting to elude officers and motor vehicle theft.
As a felon, he wouldn’t have been able to legally possess firearms. Federal authorities now are considering whether to file federal firearms charges in addition to the state attempted murder charges.
A massive investigation in Oregon shows evidence of a criminal web – involving guns, drugs, stolen property, identity theft and violence – linking white supremacists and outlaw motorcycle gangs.
“Operation White Christmas,” as the year-old investigation is code-named, so far has resulted in the arrests of 54 individuals, mostly in the Portland area, leading to 11 criminal cases in state court and another 43 in federal court.
As for its scope, the investigation based in Portland and Multnomah County rivals the prosecutions of members of another violent gang, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.
The Oregon suspects variously are affiliated with at least five known street and prison white supremacist gangs – European Kindred (EK); Rude Crude Brood; All Ona Bitch (AOB); Fat Bitch Killers (FBK) and Insane Peckerwood Syndicate (IPS), authorities say.
Others arrested, investigators say, are associates of the Gypsy Jokers outlaw motorcycle gang whose members were believed to be involved in firearms and drug trafficking with the white supremacist gangs.
“The scope of this case is by far the largest ever undertaken by this agency in recent memory, based on the number of suspects investigated, the number of persons arrested and the amount of guns recovered,” Lt. Ned Walls, the investigations division supervisor for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, told Hatewatch.
What initially began as an investigation of drug and firearms trafficking by white supremacist gangs blossomed into a broader probe of robberies, home invasions, burglaries, kidnapping, assaults, shootings and witness intimidation, Walls said. Some of the crimes involved gang-on-gang violence.
“The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office would have had an impossibly hard time trying to conduct this investigation on our own,” Walls said. The department, he said, got “outstanding collaborative” support and involvement from the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Clackamas and Washington County Sheriff’s Offices in Oregon, the Portland Police Bureau, the Gresham, Ore., Police Department, Klickitat County, Wash., Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. ( continue to full post… )
Two white supremacist prison gang members – convicted of murdering a fellow white inmate because he shared a jail cell with a black man – were sentenced today to lengthy sentences in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.
Donald R. LaFond Jr. was sentenced to life in prison and Jason Robert Widdison was sentenced to 31 years and eight months. Last February, the men were convicted by a jury of murdering fellow inmate Kenneth Mills inside the walls of the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta on March 1, 2011.
“These defendants, members of a white supremacist prison gang, brutally murdered another inmate for not objecting to having an African-American cellmate,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Whether racially motivated violence occurs on our streets or in our prisons, we will hold the perpetrators accountable.”
Evidence presented at trial showed LaFond and Widdison, both members of white supremacist prison gangs, were exercising inside the special housing unit recreation area of the penitentiary shortly before the crime.
Authorities said LaFond, 53, of New Bedford, Mass., was a member of the Aryan Resistance Militia while Widdison, 35, of Morgan, Utah. belonged to the Soldiers of Aryan Culture.
In weeks prior to the prison killing, LaFond and Widdison expressed anger towards the victim because the he had refused to protest the fact that he had an African-American cellmate, according to trial testimony.
“The defendants pressured the victim to take any steps necessary to be reassigned to another cell. Further evidence showed that the victim refused to comply with the defendants’ demands and that the defendants regarded this refusal as a violation of their gang code,” the Department of Justice said in a statement about the case.
On the day of the assault, the victim, who was white and not a gang member, joined the defendants in the recreation area and attempted to make conversation and walk around with them.
After a short period of time, LaFond and Widdison suddenly began to punch the victim from both the front and behind, knocking the victim to the ground, according to trial testimony.
The jury heard that both LaFond and Widdison then stomped on the victim’s head and neck, as many as 10 times each. Corrections officers witnessed the incident and intervened.
Both men ultimately complied with the officers’ orders to stop the assault, but by then, the victim was unconscious. He was taken to a hospital, but never regained consciousness and died on April 5, 2011.
The death in a federal correctional facility was investigated by the FBI.
“Law and order within a correctional facility setting is paramount in protecting the safety and lives of not only those inmates living within the walls of the facility but also for those working there,” J. Britt Johnson, the agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office, said in a statement after the sentencing.
“The FBI will continue to provide investigative assistance to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in ensuring that these inmates with gang or supremacy affiliations are held accountable for their violent actions,” Johnson said.
Craig Cobb, the white supremacist who terrorized a small North Dakota town after attempting to build an extremist, whites-only enclave there, is under investigation for violating the terms of his parole, according to a local television station.
The investigation stems from Cobb’s activities on WhiteNations.com, an online racist forum managed by Stanley Edward Diggs of Houma, La. Diggs, who calls himself “Fred O’Malley” online, created White Nations after being booted from its competitor, Vanguard News Network (VNN), over his attempts to get rid of a user whom he falsely believed was working with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The Grant County Sheriff’s Department declined to comment when contacted by Hatewatch on Wednesday. But KX News reported that Cobb, or someone using his name and photo, has been posting information about people to White Nations, including family and biographical information about Heidi Beirich, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project, which publishes this blog.
According to KX News, 19 pages of evidence have been turned over to the sheriff’s department. A spokesperson for the North Dakota Department of Corrections, Tim Tausend, said that
Cobb’s parole officer, Kevin Hagen, is leading an investigation.
Cobb, 62, was arrested in November 2013, after parading through the streets of Leith, N.D., with a firearm –– something he claimed to have done in response to harassment. He was charged with seven felony counts of terrorizing, which would have carried a maximum sentence of 30 years in jail. But under the terms of a plea agreement, Cobb was sentenced to four years of supervised release and was prohibited from any contact with the victims, including by computer.
Since his release from jail, Cobb has been quite prolific, posting hundreds of times to White Nations under a section called “Cobb’s Corner,” including posts detailing how to make improvised flaming arrows with steel wool and a 9-volt battery.
A former leader of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan will serve two years in prison for burning a cross in 2009 in Ozark, Ala., to “scare and intimidate residents of the African-American community by threatening the use of force against them.”
Steven Joshua Dinkle, 28, the former exalted cyclops of the Ozark chapter of the Keystone Knights, also will be on three years of “supervised release” after he gets out of prison under the sentence handed down Thursday by Chief U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins.
At the sentencing hearing, the judge said the purpose of Dinkle’s conduct clearly was “to terrorize people in the community” and that his “message was one of intimidation and violence.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said Dinkle “chose to burn the cross at the very entrance to an African-American neighborhood so that anyone coming or going would see the fiery cross. He intended to intimidate the community’s residents in their own homes and neighborhood. There is no place for such conduct in our society and the department will continue to prosecute these violent acts of hate.”
U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr., of the Middle District of Alabama, echoed those comments. “It is sad that, in this day and age, people are still filled with such hate,” Beck said. “To act on such hate and burn a cross turns that hate into a crime which should not, and will not, be tolerated. Prosecuting these type crimes will continue to be a priority of my office.”
Dinkle pleaded guilty Feb. 3 to one count of conspiracy to violate housing rights, one count of criminal interference with the right to fair housing, and two counts of obstruction of justice related to false statements he gave investigators.
He was arrested by FBI agents last November in Mississippi, four days after his mother, Pamela Morris, 45, the former secretary of the same KKK chapter in Ozark, was arrested. Dinkle admitted lying to FBI agents about his role in the cross burning. His mother is scheduled to stand trial Aug. 4 on two counts of perjury arising out of the investigation into the cross burning.
Court documents say Dinkle and KKK-recruit Thomas Windell Smith, whose age wasn’t provided by authorities, met at Dinkle’s home in Ozark on May 8, 2009, and decided to burn a cross in a nearby African-American neighborhood.
Dinkle wrapped a 6-foot wooden cross with jeans and a towel before driving with Smith in his truck to a nearby black community. The pair dug a hole, doused the cross with fuel and fled in Smith’s truck.
Smith pleaded guilty last December to one count of conspiracy to violate housing rights and faces sentencing Aug. 19, 2014.
Frank Taaffe, the tough-talking friend of George Zimmerman who appeared on multiple TV programs to defend the Florida man’s actions in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, has had an apparent change of heart.
Taaffe, who has a history as a white supremacist as well as a criminal background, told a reporter for Orlando, Fla.’s News 13 that he now believes that Zimmerman “racially profiled” Martin the day he was shot, and that he should have been found guilty by the jury that eventually acquitted him last year.
“What I know of George and his tendencies and also my opinion is that he racially profiled Trayvon Martin that night because if that had been a white kid on a cell phone, walking through our neighborhood, he wouldn’t have stayed on him the way he did and that’s a fact and I believe that in my heart,” Taaffe told reporter John Davis.
For many months, Taaffe said just the opposite, and did so on national television on numerous occasions, depicting Martin as a drug-addled, thuggish teenager and declaring Zimmerman’s innocence. “It’s really sad that he has already been convicted in the public media and has already been sentenced to the gas chamber,” he lamented in an interview with NBC’s Miami affiliate.
Taaffe said he’s now recanting his earlier statements in order to clear his conscience. “I can only ask for the country to forgive me, and today I believe that he racially profiled him based on the color of his skin.”
Davis said that some “may wonder what does Frank Taaffe have to gain by doing this,” before asking if he was was working on a book or TV show. Taaffe said no, “I’m just working on me right now and getting right with God.”
Taaffe told Davis that he was driven to reassess his views after the death of his brother last month, as well as his two sons’ deaths in recent years. He added a message for Trayvon Martin’s parents: “I’m sorry that you lost your son, I know what that’s like and I wish things had been different.”
It was not clear whether Taaffe now has similar regrets over the crudely racist things he uttered on air while campaigning on Zimmerman’s behalf – most notably on the white nationalist podcast “The White Voice.” On that show, he attacked Oprah Winfrey as a “nigger” and said “the only time that a Black life is vindicated is when a White person kills them.”
An Arkansas school district has accepted the resignation of a high school social studies teacher whose online racist comments and history of neo-Nazi activism were disclosed last month by Hatewatch.
Philip Holthoff, 53, taught at Star City High School in central Arkansas until he resigned abruptly following an investigation of his white supremacist activities, district superintendent Richard Montgomery told KTHV-TV in Little Rock today.
The school district has said nothing else publicly about its investigation or the teacher’s termination, and Holthoff has not commented publicly. It’s highly likely that he resigned after learning he was about to be fired.
Holthoff was placed on administrative leave after Hatewatch reported on April 24 that the high school teacher – using the screen name “David_Lee_Saxon” – had posted more than 400 racist comments on the Stormfront site.
What’s more, Holthoff had a long pedigree in neo-Nazi circles and was a significant financial contributor – a “sustaining member” – of Stormfront, the largest hate site on the Internet whose extremist users have murdered nearly 100 people.
The Star City School District has not disclosed what kind of background check – if any – they performed before hiring Holthoff, whose racist activism goes back 35 years. Records show he joined the neo-Nazi National Alliance in May 1980 at the age of 19, where he was given membership number A3148. Records also show Holthoff joined National Vanguard in May 2005 as member #V0547, and he is listed as a “lifetime” member of White Revolution.
In the past decade, while teaching young people at Star City High, Holthoff authored more than 400 posts on Stormfront, frequently making crude, anti-black comments.
“I teach high school and you would be amazed at some of the wild rumors Negro students believe,” Holthoff wrote in 2008.
In a 2009 post, Holthoff wrote: “I teach social studies in a public high school and I am racially conscious!” Later, following up on that topic, he wrote: “You don’t know chaos until you have seen Negro students going wild in the halls after the  election screaming: OBAMA…OBAMA!!!”
In a post last year, Holthoff described his high school’s commencement ceremonies and complained about “that odor” of African Americans. “Its [sic] graduation time. I always get a kick out of how white administrators beg and plead for people to behave during the ceremonies. Black parents are the worse. The entire race must have ADD. Halfway into the ceremony they scream, shout, blow air guns and dance in the aisle when their child’s name is called. And that odor get in your clothes to! [sic]”
He applauded the often-expressed racist fantasy of rounding up “race traitors after the revolution,” Hatewatch reported last month. Just earlier this year he expressed the hope that a “top secret group” of white supremacists would “bring to justice” those “traitors” who promote interracial activities like the Super Bowl. ( continue to full post… )
Even though his fellow Republicans originally denounced him, Steve Smith has been unrepentant and unapologetic about his racial views in the two years since he was elected to a Republican county committee in Pennsylvania. Nowadays, some of those Republicans even pose for photos with him at fundraisers. [Updated with statements from Rep. Lou Barletta and Matthew Dietz below.]
Smith, a former skinhead with a violent criminal record and past associations with neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations, was elected in May 2012 to a four-year term to the Luzerne County, Pa., Republican Party county committee, on what appears to have been a single write-in vote – his own. Republican officials initially attempted to have Smith removed from the position, but eventually gave up and let Smith remain.
Smith recently posted a note at Stormfront – the white supremacist website whose users are responsible for nearly one hundred murders – observing that he had been in office for two years and was becoming entrenched in his role. “Not only were they not successful in ousting me, I was appointed as an officer in my district in my first year!” he boasted.
In the ensuing thread, his fellow white supremacists praised him for his “bravery.” Smith proclaimed: “I consistently vocalize my pro-White viewpoints at meetings. I tell perspective [sic] Congressional candidates that stopping the illegal alien invasion should be their top issue if they truly care about the future of this country.”
One of the participants in the thread asked: “I’m curious. Do you bring along the increase in crime statistics with you when you are arguing these points? If so, how do they handle it?”
Smith answered: “These politicians know I am telling the truth. They have never even tried to debate me on these facts.”
“Unfortunately, these politicians fear being called a “racist” more than they fear the violent crime that blacks and non-white Hispanics are bringing into their neighborhoods,” he added.
These are the ingredients of hate, the recipe for murder:
A copy of Mein Kampf, three boxes of ammunition, a red t-shirt with a swastika symbol and a file folder titled, “Going underground and declaring war against the government.”
Then add a list of kosher places to eat, a racist, anti-Semitic periodical called The Aryan Alternative and a computer printout about a singing contest to be held at a Jewish community center that is sure to attract hundreds of teenagers.
FBI agents, armed with a search warrant, retrieved these items and several others from the rural Missouri home of Frazier Glenn Miller, a few hours after the 73-year-old neo-Nazi was arrested for allegedly gunning down three people at two Jewish facilities in suburban Kansas City on Sunday, April 13.
The warrant was issued at 7:05 PM in Lawrence County, Mo., about six hours after the killing began at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in suburban Overland Park, Kan. The center is some 190 miles from Miller’s home, a “single family dwelling with gray siding and green shingles,” according to the warrant.
Agents went looking for “any evidence of the crime to include but not limited to…”
“Any documents and electronic media that may contain information about white supremacy, anti Semitism, and any documents concerning white supremacy groups…Any firearms, and ammunition…”
The agents were also looking for any maps and directions to the Village Shalom Retirement Center, which was the second Jewish facility attacked that April afternoon.
They found much of what they were looking for.
Miller, who is also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, allegedly began his killing spree around 1 PM at the Jewish Community Center. It was packed with hundreds of young hopefuls, trying out for the singing contest, details of which agents found in Miller’s home.
One of the aspiring singers was 14-year-old Reat Griffin Underwood, who was accompanied to the audition by his grandfather, Dr. William Corporon, 69.
Miller, prosecutors charge, shot them to death in the center’s parking lot before they had a chance to even get inside the building.
The former Klan leader turned neo-Nazi then allegedly shot and killed Terri LaManno, 53, who was visiting her mother at the nearby Village Shalom Retirement Center.
Miller is being held on $10 million bond.
After surrendering without a fight, Miller was placed in the back of a police car where he shouted through the wire mesh, “Heil Hitler.”
None of the dead was Jewish.
Craig Cobb, the white supremacist who tried to take over a small North Dakota town and turn it into an all-white enclave named “Cobbsville,” was given four years probation on Tuesday after pleading guilty to charges he terrorized residents last fall.
Cobb, 62, has been in jail since November 2013, when he was arrested after parading through the streets with a weapon –– something he claimed he had to do in response to harassment. Cobb’s original charges included seven felony counts of terrorizing, which would have carried a maximum sentence of 30 years had he not entered into a plea agreement.
Leith officials met news of the sentence with disgust, feeling that Cobb’s efforts had upended the town’s idyllic calm and changed the lives of Leith residents forever.
Leith Mayor Ryan Schock, who was hoping for a longer prison term, said he worried it would take a long time for the town to recover from the turmoil, especially given that Cobb on Tuesday would soon be a free man. “When are we going to be safe from him?” Schock told the Associated Press. “He has made his mark on our lives.”
Cobb moved to Leith more than two years ago and quickly began buying properties, then selling those properties to other white nationalists. His plan was to build an all-Aryan stronghold named “Cobbsville” that could stand against racial diversity and multiculturalism. Those plans were first revealed by Hatewatch in August.
With his legal troubles behind him, Cobb said he plans to “retire from white nationalism” and ask the court for permission to move to Missouri to care for his ailing mother. “I regret my actions. I know I was wrong and I accept responsibility for my actions. It was an unfortunate confluence of circumstances and bad decisions on my part,” Cobb told the court.